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December 8, 2019

11/12/2019 7:27:00 AM
Theft case against former gas station manager stalled
Tatrow still trying to raise money for lawyer
By River News Staff

A 41-year-old Pelican Lake man charged in August 2018 with one count of theft in a business setting (over $10,000) in connection with his employment as a gas station manager remains stalled as he tries to raise money to hire a new attorney.

Aries L. Tatrow is accused of taking approximately $79,000 from Remington Oil of Antigo over a four-month period while overseeing two BP gas stations in Rhinelander and one in Gleason.

Tatrow made his initial appearance on the charge Aug. 16, 2018 before judge Michael Bloom, who set a $1,000 cash bond with conditions that Tatrow not enter any Remington Oil premises and take the drug Adderall only as prescribed and only if he has a prescription. 

Income restrictions meant he could not be represented by the state public defender's office, nor have a attorney appointed for him by Bloom at county expense. He hired Patrick Finlan to represent him at hearings in September 2018, including a preliminary hearing and arraignment where Tatrow entered not guilty pleas.

At a pre-trial conference on April 30, a four-day jury trial was scheduled for Oct. 14. On Aug. 28, Finlan filed a motion to withdraw as Tatrow's attorney, citing a conflict of interest. Bloom granted that motion Sept. 3. Since that time, three status conferences have been held with Tatrow advising Bloom he is still trying to raise the money to cover the retainer for a replacement attorney.

The most recent status conference was held Nov. 4. At that time, Bloom advised Tatrow he has until Jan. 27, 2020 to hire an attorney.

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation began following a burglary at the Kemp Street BP in July 2018. 

During the course of the burglary investigation, officers learned that Tatrow was paying several employees in cash, the individuals in question did not appear to be on Remington's payroll and they were covering the shifts of other people.

Other employees who had access to the store's financial reports told officers that "a lot of days (they'd) see a refund for $900 under 'SVC,'" and they believed it was Tatrow executing the refunds based on when they occurred, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the alleged refunds were reportedly executed using a custom cash register button that could only be created by a manager or the owner. 

A representative of Remington Oil told police the company did not create the button and none of its other stores have it. The representative also said the company found no evidence that similar "refunds" were taking place at its other locations. 

When interviewed by police, Tatrow admitted he knows how to change the buttons on the cash register using a computer program but claimed the "refund" button was already in place when he began his employment.

After initially arguing that the "refunds" were for the use of Remington's business credit card and thus legitimate, he later admitted to using the money to pay other people to work shifts and for things like truck tires and between $600 and $700 a month for Adderall, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Tatrow told police he was sick of working "that job" seven days a week and had discovered a way he could help others make more money. In searching Tatrow's property in Pelican Lake, police located two boats, four pickup trucks, a SUV, two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, two dirt bikes and a four-wheeler, the complaint notes.

If convicted of the felony, Tatrow could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

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